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Carmina Burana

February 17, 7:30 pm9:30 pm

Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra at Powell Hall
718 N Grand Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63103 United States

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Stéphane Denève, conductor
Ying Fang, soprano
Sunnyboy Dladla, tenor
Thomas Lehman, baritone
St. Louis Symphony Chorus | Andrew Whitfield, guest director
St. Louis Children’s Choirs | Alyson Moore, artistic director

Arvo Pärt Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten
Lera Auerbach Icarus
Richard Wagner “Liebestod” from Tristan and Isolde 
Carl Orff Carmina Burana

  • This concert takes place at Stifel Theatre.
  • Let us do the driving! Reserve your seat on the Symphony Shuttle from Plaza Frontenac or St. Louis Community College – Forest Park. Shuttle tickets are $15 per passenger and depart 75 minutes prior to the concert.

“O fortuna!” Right from its famous opening notes, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana shakes the Stifel to its foundation. Orff’s work charts the course of fate with songs of joy, love, and celebration. Stéphane crafts a first half trilogy of loss and fateful farewell. In Arvo Pärt’s Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten, pure sounds are as if directly descended from heaven, then Lera Auerbach brings us to the heat of the sun in Icarus. In the Love-death from Richard Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde we end with a salute to eternal love.

A few things to know: 

  • From Disney movies to Superbowl commercials, from Wrestlemania to beer ads, Carmina Burana has seeped into every nook and cranny of our culture. But its source material is obscure, a 13th-century collection of songs and poems that was lost for six centuries. Carl Orff was confident in the work, writing to his publisher, “Everything I have written to date can be destroyed. With Carmina Burana my collected works begin.”
  • Richard Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde is a tale of forbidden love. Isolde is an Irish princess. She is being taken by Tristan, against her will, to Cornwall. There she will marry his uncle, King Marke. On the way, Isolde tries to poison them both. Instead, a love potion causes them to fall in love. In the “Liebestod” (“love-death”), Isolde laments the death of Tristan, gradually engulfed by love and by her own death.
  • Russian-born Lera Auerbach is a very modern creator: conductor, pianist, composer, poet, and visual artist. “I have long been fascinated by the story of Icarus,” she writes. “Exhilarated by freedom, by his own youth, by the feeling of light, Icarus soared higher and higher until the wax on his wings melted and he fell into the ocean. Oh, gravity!”

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